Oyster Island, Santo, Vanuatu

I do love holidays where you get out and about and do some exploring.  Shane, the manager at the Beach House, told us that just 6kms up the road from Barrier Beach House is a turn-off to the right where you head down a dirt road until you come to the water’s edge.  Lying off-shore and just 200-metres away, is Oyster Island Resort.

Oyster Island Beach

Oyster Island Beach

Six kilometres sounds so close it’s almost like it’s next door so we decided to cycle there.  It’s a long time since I was on a bike so actually, 6kms is further than I thought.

Wait here for the barge

Wait here for the barge

It was a very overcast day and also intermittently raining but regardless we were out and about and enjoying ourselves.  At the end of the dirt road we came to a thatched structure with a metal drum hanging off one side of it.  A stick is attached and if you use that to bang on the drum, the noise will attract the barge driver and he will come over to collect you.

Just bang on the metal drum and the barge will arrive

Just bang on the metal drum and the barge will arrive

What a novelty!  Alfie gave that drum a big whack and next thing we saw the barge heading over to greet us.  But just as the barge approached a squall swept through with gusts of violent winds and torrential rain.  The driver of the barge was the Aussie manager of Oyster Island Resort and he was yelling out that we had to hurry onto the barge as conditions were deteriorating and he’d have to quickly take us over to the Island, then head back out to rescue some kayakers caught in the squall.

The barge heading from Oyster Island

The barge heading from Oyster Island

So we threw our bikes onto the barge and held on for dear life as the barge took us across to the Island.  The manager was saying, ‘Don’t worry about it; it’s just a squall; just a bit of low pressure; happens all the time; will blow over.  She’ll be right’.

The road that leads to the barge

The road that leads to the barge

It only takes a minute or two to travel the distance to Oyster Island.  We quickly disembarked so the manager could find those poor kayakers.  We dumped our bikes and took refuge in the restaurant and bar area.

Oyster Island

Oyster Island

Restaurant and bar

Restaurant and bar

The restaurant has been made in the traditional style using traditional materials.  We had intended to do some touring by kayak but thought it best to wait until the conditions improved.  Meanwhile, we had a calming drink and ordered some lunch.

The bar

The bar

I’ve heard it’s good to go to Oyster Island for lunch on a Sunday as they have a bar-be-cue buffet that is apparently excellent.  But it was Monday so we’d missed that opportunity and instead ordered from the menu.

Waiting for the squall to blow over

Waiting for the squall to blow over

As they were out of white wine, I started with a glass of ‘bubbles’ that was Aquila Sparkling.  It was rather nice to be enjoying a glass of bubbles while watching the squall blow around the island.

Aquila Sparkling:  700 vt

Aquila Sparkling: 700 vt ($10.00)

The young adults shared the Sangria which was red wine, Cointreau, Sprite and mixed fruits.  Typically, they had no trouble finishing this jug.

Sangria Red:  Red wine, Cointreau, Sprite, Mixed Fruits.  To share:  2000 vt

Sangria Red: Red wine, Cointreau, Sprite, Mixed Fruits. To share: 2000 vt ($24.00)

Alfie enjoyed a fruit mocktail of blended pineapple, paw paw, banana and orange juice and this he loved.

Fruit Punch:  Blended fresh pineapple/pawpaw/banana and orange juice

Fruit Punch: Blended fresh pineapple/pawpaw/banana and orange juice

As for Drew, he set a good example for his family and ordered the ‘Wata’.  Vanuatu rain water collected fresh each day it rains.  And there is no charge for the ‘wata’.

Wata:  Vanuatu Rain Water - no charge!  'Collected fresh each day, if it rains'.

Wata: Vanuatu Rain Water – no charge! ‘Collected fresh each day, if it rains’.

After all his ‘wata’, Drew wasn’t terribly hungry so he ordered a toasted sandwich where you choose two fillings and it comes with fries.  He had no complaints until he saw my Blue Hole Burger.

Toasted Sandwich with Fries:  900 vt

Toasted Sandwich with Fries: 900 vt ($11.00)

I ordered the Blue Hole Burger because I liked the name of it and because Shane had highly recommended it.  This was a terrific burger and I was certainly impressed with the height of it.  I wasn’t keen on the sweet potato fries as I found them quite dry but good old Drew said I could swap my fries with his.

Blue Hole Burger:  1600 vt

Blue Hole Burger with bacon, egg and beetroot: 1600 vt ($19.00)

The young adults ordered a Santo Blanket Wrap and were very happy with this but also suffered from burger envy.  I’m sure if we went back there today it would be Blue Hole Burgers all round.

Santo Blanket Wrap:  1500 vt

Santo Blanket Wrap: 1500 vt ($18.00)

By the time I’d finished my burger, the squall had moved on and it stopped raining.  I took a stroll around the Island which even on a dull day is very picturesque.  While you can stay in some budget-priced unit accommodation, there are some individual bungalows that are down on the water and well-spaced to ensure privacy and a peaceful environment.  They face west so you’d be able to sit on your balcony or swing from the hammock and enjoy the sunset.

Accommodation is in individual fares

Accommodation is in individual fares

Oyster Island sits within a Marine Reserve and has several white sandy beaches as well as some coral reefs teeming with marine life to explore with a snorkel and mask.  But while on the Island there is as much to do or as little to do as you choose, Oyster Island also has staff to give you a lot of local experiences with visits to native farms and villages.

Reception

Reception

We enjoyed our day on Oyster Island and found it to have a very relaxed, casual and friendly atmosphere with staff who can’t do enough to ensure you have everything you need.  The lunch menu is reasonably priced with well-presented meals coming from the kitchen and dining in the restaurant while overlooking the beautiful view is very special.

Fare accommodation

Fare accommodation

The Island offers lower-priced accommodation in paradise surroundings with a genuine and authentic island feel.

Family fares

Family fares

We did get out on the Island’s kayaks but I’ll share that adventure with you tomorrow.

The jetty on Oyster Island

The jetty on Oyster Island

We took the barge back to the mainland and cycled back to Barrier Beach House.  With little cycling experience, we had very sore rear-ends but it had been a great way to travel so no regrets.

Stepping onto the barge

Stepping onto the barge

Verdict:  A relaxed place to spend a day.

Just a 2-minute ride from the mainland

Just a 2-minute ride from the mainland

Oyster Island Resort:  20-minutes up the Coast Road from Luganville.  Espirtu Santo, Vanuatu.

Ph:  00678 7782773 or 00678 36283

Cycling home

Cycling home

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Comments

  1. Gosh Charlie… my kids would have loved these kinds of holidays… though we did take them annually to Kiama… and also to Europe for a big adventure. Lovely stories and photos!

  2. That sangria looks perfect! But, so does that fruit punch! Missed reading your blog! Glad to be back!

  3. Another great day, good food, interesting locales and a bit of exercise to burn off the calories from those lunches.

  4. Hi Charlie, you guys are doing it right, great adventures!

  5. I can’t read these posts without thinking how magical it is for you all to have such wonderful family holidays together. I can believe the young adults had massive burger envy!

  6. Truly, this looks like such a perfect family holiday. And that drum! Again, I’ll bet Alfie thinks he is in heaven.

  7. You have certainly packed plenty into this holiday – Charlie – BTW I too have burger envy – nothing I love more than a burger that over delivers:)

  8. You really did have an adventurous holiday, with adventurous weather to boot! It sounds like a great day trip though, and you clearly picked an excellent way to wait for the weather to clear – that is an impressive burger!

  9. Everything that you posted (well apart from that trek yesterday!) looks so relaxing and lovely. I really want to visit there now!

  10. This looks like Paradise. It’s difficult to imagine that places like this still (actually) exist.

  11. All those colours in your photos! So, so beautiful. I not only have burger envy, I have location envy. So glad to see you guys having fun though. What did Alfie order? Him being the same age as Laith, I’m always interested 🙂

  12. Bubbles are good any time, aren’t they? I never turn them down! And I sure wouldn’t turn down that Blue Hole Burger. What a terrific looking dish! Sounds like you’re having a wonderful time — thanks for bringing us along, virtually speaking. 😉

  13. Charlie – that way of summoning the barge sure is unique indeed! This whole trip sounds so relaxing and WARM – it’s been freezin over here in Atlanta! xx

  14. These are family memories of a lifetime. I’m amazed that nobody in your family does really dumb stuff like fall off the boat or get bitten by a fish.

  15. What a load of family fun you are having charlie. Really nice that all your children came along to share it.

  16. Far out, I wish we had family holidays like this, a big adventure for us was a trip to Batemans Bay, guess that is a big deal when you live 8hrs from the beach. LOL! That burger looks freakin amazing, your holiday posts are making me long for the beach. Not pleasant when my next holiday is 3 months away.
    Hope your holiday hangover has eased slightly and you’ve settled back into everyday life.
    Happy arvo and great weekend to you Charlie. xo

  17. What an incredible holiday Charlie!
    Have a beautiful day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  18. An adventure every day – how good. Love that drum to call the barge driver. Simple things that work – why change them. Nice burger.

  19. What a gorgeous looking place Charlie, I’m starting to feel very jealous. I’m not just suffering from burger envy, but holiday envy! Xo

  20. You guys organize and live such fun and fascinating trips, I am getting jealous Charlie! Awesome landscape perfect food, over cast weather (love that!) and fun company, that’s what I call a holiday.

  21. I love it when you can have a wonderful vacation and the food is impressive too! Sometimes that’s not the case. What a fabulous vacation you guys are having!

Trackbacks

  1. […] That’s the route we took last year but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous and energetic you can kayak to Matevulu from Oyster Island. […]

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